The Evidence Base: Predictors of School Readiness

Home Visiting in Texas

Access to high-quality childcare betters outcomes in the following domains: neuro-typical brain development;1 reading and associated competencies (vocabulary, language performance, and emergent literacy);2 and social-emotional development (emotional understanding, social problem solving, and learning engagement).3,4 It yields the highest short and long-term benefits for low-income children relative to their higher-income peers.5,6,7

Multiple studies found association between parental warmth, acceptance, and responsiveness and child language performance as well as later academic and social performance.8,9

A child’s home learning environment (HLE) is critical to their development. HLE, which has been linked to improved outcomes in literacy and kindergarten reading success, includes active (shared readings) and passive (seeing parent read the newspaper) activities;10 consistent bedtimes and books in the home;11 and amount of time and type of TV programming watched by young children.12,13 Further, shared reading or reading to children itself has been linked to higher literacy and language competencies.14,15,16,17

Multiple measures of health,18 including current health status and low birth weight, have been found to be strong predictors of school readiness.19 Infants born premature (association stronger in boys) are more likely to display lower school readiness, and low birth weight is associated with an increased risk for learning disabilities.20,21 A lack of access to prenatal care for pregnant women is associated with low birth weight and premature birth.22,23 These pre-existing factors are often amplified by a lack of subsequent access to primary care to identify, treat, and prevent issues that may negatively impact a child’s healthy development.24,25

Poor nutrition has been linked to a child’s ability to learn effectively, concentrate, and perform academically in school.26,27 In addition, poor nutrition is associated with a suite of social and emotional challenges in school, including: behavioral, emotional, and academic problems; increased displays of aggressive and anxious behaviors; and as teens, more disciplinary conflicts and increased difficulty getting along with peers.28 Finally, poor nutrition is also a risk factor for health issues, including increased susceptibility to illness and obesity, which can affect a child’s school readiness and academic performance.29

For CFRP's work on early childhood, go to Publications > Early Childcare and Education.

  • Citations
    1 Palkovitz, R., Fagan, J., & Hull, J. (2013). Coparenting and children’s well-being. In N. J. Cabrera & C. S. Tamis-LeMonda (Eds.), Handbook of father involvement (2nd ed., pp. 202–219). New York: Routledge.
    
    	2 Hohmann-Marriott, B. (2011). Coparenting and father involvement in married and unmarried coresident couples. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73(1), 296–309. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00805.x
    
    	3 Doherty, W. J., Kouneski, E. F., & Erickson, M. F. (1998). Responsible fathering: An overview and conceptual framework. Journal of Marriage and Family, 60(2), 277. https://doi.org/10.2307/353848
    
    	4 Waller, M. R. (2012). Cooperation, conflict, or disengagement? Coparenting styles and father involvement in fragile families. Family Process, 51(3), 325–342. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1545-5300.2012.01403.x
    
    	5 Carlson, M. J., McLanahan, S. S., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2008). Coparenting and nonresident fathers’ involvement with young children after a nonmarital birth. Demography, 45(2), 461–488. https://doi.org/10.1353/dem.0.0007
    
    	6 Varga, C. M., Gee, C. B., Rivera, L., & Reyes, C. X. (2017). Coparenting mediates the association between relationship quality and father involvement. Youth & Society, 49(5), 588–609. https://doi.org/10.1177/0044118X14548529
    
    	7 Gee, C. B., McNerney, C. M., Reither, M. J., & Leaman, S. C. (2007). Adolescent and young adult mothers' relationship quality during the transition to parenthood: Associations with father involvement in fragile families. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(2), 213-224. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-006-9130-x
    
    	8 Ryan, R. M., Kalil, A., & Ziol-Guest, K. M. (2008). Longitudinal patterns of non-residential fathers' involvement: The role of resources and relations. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(4), 962-977. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00539.x
    
    	9 Marsiglio, W., Amato, P., Day, R. D., & Lamb, M. E. (2000). Scholarship on fatherhood in the 1990s and beyond. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(4), 1173–1191. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.01173.x
    
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    	12 Coleman, P. K., & Karraker, K. H. (1998). Self-efficacy and parenting quality: Findings and future applications. Developmental Review, 18(1), 47–85. https://doi.org/10.1006/drev.1997.0448
    
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    	16 Coley, R. L., & Hernandez, D. C. (2006). Predictors of paternal involvement for resident and nonresident low-income fathers. Developmental Psychology, 42(6), 1041–1056. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.42.6.1041
    
    	17 Trahan, M. H. (2017). Paternal self-efficacy and father involvement: A bi-directional relationship. Psychology of Men & Masculinity. https://doi.org/10.1037/men0000130
    
    	18 Favez, N., Tissot, H., Frascarolo, F., Stiefel, F., & Despland, J. N. (2016). Sense of competence and beliefs about parental roles in mothers and fathers as predictors of coparenting and child engagement in mother-father-infant triadic interactions: Parental sense of competence, beliefs, and coparenting. Infant and Child Development, 25(4), 283–301. https://doi.org/10.1002/icd.1934
    
    	19 Goldberg, J. S. (2015). Identity and involvement among resident and nonresident fathers. Journal of Family Issues, 36(7), 852–879. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X13500963
    
    	20 Henley, K., & Pasley, K. (2005). Conditions affecting the association between father identity and father involvement. Fathering, 3(1), 59–80. Retrieved from http://www.mensstudies.info/OJS/index.php/FATHERING/article/view/224
    
    	21 Tamis-LeMonda, C., & Cabrera, N. (1999). Perspectives on father involvement: Research and social policy. Social Policy Report: Society for Research in Child Development, 13(2), 1–32. 
    
    	22 Doherty, W. J., Kouneski, E. F., & Erickson, M. F. (1998). Responsible fathering: An overview and conceptual framework. Journal of Marriage and Family, 60(2), 277. https://doi.org/10.2307/353848
    
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    	24 Ryan, R. M., Kalil, A., & Ziol-Guest, K. M. (2008). Longitudinal patterns of non-residential fathers' involvement: The role of resources and relations. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(4), 962-977. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00539.x
    
    	25 Doherty, W. J., Kouneski, E. F., & Erickson, M. F. (1998). Responsible fathering: An overview and conceptual framework. Journal of Marriage and Family, 60(2), 277. https://doi.org/10.2307/353848 
    
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    	28 Waller, M. R., & Swisher, R. (2006). Fathers’ risk factors in fragile families: Implications for “healthy” relationships and father involvement. Social Problems, 53(3), 392–420. https://doi.org/10.1525/sp.2006.53.3.392.
    
    	29 Berger, L. M., & Langton, C. E. (2011). Young disadvantaged men as fathers. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 635, 56–75. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716210393648
    
    	30 Woldoff, R. A., & Washington, H. M. (2008). Arrested contact: The criminal justice system, race, and father engagement. The Prison Journal, 88(2), 179–206. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032885508319154.
    
    	31 Osborne, C., et al. (2013). A portrait of father involvement and support in the first three years after a nonmarital birth. Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Child & Family Research Partnership. Retrieved from https://childandfamilyresearch.utexas.edu/portrait-father-involvement-and-support-first-three-years-after-nonmarital-birth
    
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